NASA’s Persevrance rover hit the ground on Mars 18 months ago, since studying our neighbor for life.
The Persevrance probe arrived on Mars with a mission: to prove that the red planet was capable of one day harboring life on its soil. If the explorations and analyzes of our red neighbor continue in this direction, the NASA rover also knows that it must make us benefit from the panorama.
In a recent video published on the YouTube channel of JPL, the laboratory in charge of this small robot, Persevrance gives us images of a level of precision never before achieved. This panorama, captured in high resolution, is made up of more than 2 billion pixels. What to take the measure of the smallest shades of color present on the ground of the planet.
This result is the fruit of titanic work on the side of Houston, at the NASA control center. The engineers of the American agency thus assembled more than 1000 images before proposing this unique shot of its kind. A photo rich in detail that takes us on a journey to the heart of the Jezero crater, where Perseverance landed 18 months ago.
The image was ultimately taken over 8 days, between June 12 and 20. It shows the traces left by the passage of water. In this dry crater for millions of years once existed a lake. Water was then flowing in various streams on the planet, and life may have been present.
If the traces of erosion are still visible and studied, the analyzes of Perseverance have not yet shown any clear sign of the presence of life around the crater. But the experiments carried out on the soil of the Red Planet are quite sketchy. NASA could not send all the probes and other analysis chambers with its Perseverance rover.
A feedback mission to learn more
So she thought of creating the “Mars Sample Return” mission. As its name suggests, the objective of this program is to collect the samples left by Perseverance on its way. A probe will pass behind the rover, recover test tubes filled with pieces of rock before they return to Earth. NASA will then be able to study them with the best tools in the world, as it did with the lunar samples from the Apollo missions.
But the “Sample Return” program should also allow NASA to test its ability to relaunch a rocket from Mars, something that has never been done in the history of humanity for the moment. Such a maneuver must however be mastered to perfection if the American space agency wants to send men to the red planet one day.